Sheldrake's genius is taking commonly reported tales of human and animal abilities that challenge accepted scientific wisdom and developing simple ways of testing those claims under scientifically valid conditions. As with any series of experiments, especially those investigating controversial topics, they gradually evolve into ever-more sophisticated designs to eliminate possible flaws. Sheldrake has done this for the "feeling of being stared at," and the evidence he and others have amassed is persuasive, if reviewed without prejudice.
I do not agree with his theoretical explanation for the "staring effect." In Sheldrake's view it suggests a mind that literally extends through space. I think there may be other explanations that better fit the data. But I heartily applaud his proposal of such a theory. Great advancements in science always encounter initial hosility and knee-jerk dismissals because they run counter to accepted wisdom. But without scientific mavericks unsettling the dogma of existing theories, science would rapidly congeal into religion. Indeed, for some hyper-rationalists, "scientism" is already such a religion, with its own set of doctrines, saints, and blasphemers.
Sheldrake is a living reminder that by applying conventional scientific methods to unconventional ideas one can sometimes seriously challenge prevailing dogmas. Sheldrake's research and books, including this one, is science at its cutting-edge best.